Asturias and the Costa Verde, hidden gems in northern Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Costa Verde

OVIEDO  – Are you looking for a unique holiday experience that you will not easily find anywhere else in Spain? Then consider going on holiday to Asturias with its beautiful Costa Verde. 

You will find breathtaking natural beauty in mountain ranges such as the Picos de Europa or Somiedo. At the same time, the coast with elegant seaside resorts and spectacular beaches is never far away. On those beaches, it is only busy in July and August. After all, the Spaniards also go on holiday then. Moreover, more and more Spaniards from regions further south find this northern coast in their own country while fleeing the summer heat. If you are considering a tour through unknown northern Spain, you should take into account the occasional shower. It’s not so green for nothing. Hence the name Costa Verde (green coast). But not only nature is spectacular. The coast and hinterland also offer a rich variety of culture and gastronomy to make your holiday unforgettable. 

Paradise coast 

Asturias has one of the most spectacular coastlines in Spain. It has an impressive mix of cliffs, deserted beaches and quiet coves. There are also charming fishing ports and lively resorts such as Ribadesella, which lies at the mouth of the River Sella. It has a long beach, and a picturesque old town. Furthermore, it is known for its prehistoric cave paintings in the caves of Tito Bustillo. 

Another popular holiday resort is Llanes. This picturesque town has a beautiful historic centre and several beaches. You can take walks along the stunning cliffs here. At Colunga on Playa de la Griega, you can visit the tracks of real dinosaurs. Paw prints on the hard, grey surface are clearly visible. Or go to Lastres, belonging to the network of the most picturesque villages in Spain. It is appealingly situated on a green cliff. 

Lastres, Costa Verde

Picos de Europa and Covadonga 

The region is also home to the impressive Picos de Europa mountain range and national park. Spectacular grey peaks, covered with snow for a large part of the year, contrast exquisitely with the intense green valleys and forests with a mountain lake shining in the sun here and there. Consider taking a trip to the glacial lakes of Covadonga. You step into a postcard. If you didn’t know any better, you’d imagine yourself somewhere in the Alps, complete with cows and the sound of their bells. Throughout the area, there are countless opportunities for walking, cycling, or horse riding on well-marked trails. 

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Picos de Europa

Roman cultural treasures 

The rich history of Asturias dates back to Roman times. To see the traces of this, visit the Roman bridge in the small town of Luces, built in the 1st century AD. Near Gijón is a Roman villa (Villa Romana de Veranes) with beautiful mosaics, a hot water system and a complex of thermal baths. Finally, there is a renovated ‘Roman’ bridge in Cangas de Onís over the river Sella. 

Modern culture 

Culture of a more recent date can be found in one of the amazing medieval cities such as Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. The old town is a feast for the eyes with beautiful buildings and churches. Or spend a few days in lively Gijón, the second-largest city in Asturias. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, delicious food and excellent shopping. Here you can visit Roman baths in the Campo Valdés area of Gijón. Finally, part of the Roman wall is still standing here. If you prefer something more rural culture, head inland for a visit to one of the many picturesque villages. They often offer an authentic view of local life. 

Costa Verde culinary 

Asturias is home to delicious cuisine. As in many other Spanish areas, the focus is on fresh, local ingredients. The region is best known for its fresh seafood, which is used in a wide variety of tasty dishes. For example barnacles (Percebes). This is a delicacy in Asturias harvested from the rocky coastline. 

In addition to seafood, there are countless other specialities, such as the Cachopo, a savoury dish of breaded meat filled with ham and cheese, and the Asturian cider, which you must try during your visit. This drink made from apples is often drunk with a variety of local dishes, including “fabada” (a hearty bean stew), “queso de cabrales” (a strong blue cheese), and the aforementioned ‘capocho’. These dishes are often served in large portions for sharing. 


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